Dodgers Rumors: Cody Bellinger Agreed to 1-Year, $17M Contract Prior to MLB Lockout

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 23, 2021

Atlanta, GA - October 23: Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates at first base after an RBI single during the fourth inning in game six in the 2021 National League Championship Seriesagainst the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 in Atlanta, GA. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers and veteran outfielder Cody Bellinger reportedly agreed to a one-year, $17 million contract before the Dec. 1 lockout, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel

That deal would allow for the sides to avoid arbitration while giving Bellinger a $900,000 raise from his 2020 salary.

Bellinger, 26, had a down year in 2021, hitting just .165 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 95 games. He did turn things around in the playoffs, however, upping his average to .353 while adding one homer and seven RBI in 12 contests. 

That was reminiscent of his MVP season in 2019, when he hit .305 with 47 homers and 115 RBI, and a 2020 campaign that saw his average dip to .239 but in which he still hit 12 homers and 30 RBI in 56 games across the COVID-shortened season. 

Injuries played a part in Bellinger's disappointing 2021, as he dealt with a hairline fracture in his left leg, a hamstring strain and a rib fracture. 

In total, Bellinger has hit .257 for his career with 133 homers and 354 RBI in five seasons. He's averaging 0.22 home runs per game, which in a full 162-game season translates to 36 dingers. 

That makes him a key part of the Dodgers' future, even after his 2021 struggles. He'll be eligible for arbitration one more time next offseason before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2023 campaign. 

In an offseason that saw the Dodgers lose Corey Seager and Max Scherzer, having certainty with Bellinger for at least one more season is valuable, as the team seeks to remain a contender in the National League. Getting Bellinger back to his MVP form will be all the more important with Seager's bat no longer in the lineup.